36 Providence

PopulationMetro: 1,621,122
Fresh air and fresh faces rule in America’s smallest state.

The smallest state in America has a capital city with plenty of big ideas, a lot of very smart and creative people, and a happening nightlife.

Home to an Ivy League college, one of the best design schools in the country, and a major culinary institute, Providence sure packs a big punch for such a small city. The city boasts Brown University, ranked the #5 University among all large U.S. cities. It also boasts plenty of fresh air to go along with the fresh perspectives of academia.

Start your ramble at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art, which offers a collection featuring some 84,000 artifacts from ancient Rome, Egypt and Greece, as well as modern Eames furniture and Frank Lloyd Wright stained-glass windows.

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People 66
Prosperity 29
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Brown University’s historic campus on 18th-century College Hill is not far, and you can wander the tree-lined streets where an impressive collection of beautiful Georgian-style homes sit side by side. Old school meets new school at The Dean, a boutique hotel featuring North, a cool little restaurant; a karaoke bar named the Boombox; The Magdalenae Room for swanky cocktails; and Bolt for coffee. Yes, this is one hard-working hotel, giving visitors the option to eat, drink and chill without ever putting on a jacket.

The Eddy is another locally lauded watering hole with a U-shaped bar behind which the mixologists pour inventive cocktails using house-infused syrups, fresh herbs and squeezed citrus. Persimmon is another gem of a restaurant where the seasonal tapas-style dishes are meant to be shared.

The city is quickly evolving into a multicultural powerhouse, ranking #17 in our People category, powered by #7 for Foreign-born Residents and #33 for Educational Attainment.